Summary and book reviews of Night Flying by Rita Murphy

Night Flying

by Rita Murphy

Night Flying
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Nov 2000, 144 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2002, 144 pages

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Book Summary

Georgia Hansen can fly. All the women in her family can. Georgia will soon turn 16 and make her first solo flight..... In this powerful coming-of-age novel, Georgia must weigh the cost of her heritage against her passion for flight.

Georgia Hansen can fly. All the women in her family can. They fly at night, when the world sleeps, for no one must discover their secret. Georgia will soon turn 16 and make her first solo flight, taking up her birthright with a special ceremony to mark the occasion. But her anticipation is disrupted with the arrival of her rebellious Aunt Carmen. Banished from the family years before for breaking the strict code of flying enforced by Georgia's grandmother, this unknown aunt reveals the true price of her family's gift, for the Hansen rules of flying are strict and unforgiving.

In this powerful coming-of-age novel, Georgia must weigh the cost of her heritage against her passion for flight.

The Hansen women have always flown at night, even in bad weather. Aunt Eva actually prefers storms. She says she makes better time that way. Though often she ends up on the east end of town and has to walk back along the railroad bed if the wind isn't blowing in her favor.

Flying is something we do at night when everyone is asleep. Twice around the meadow or once over the ridge to clear our heads before settling in for the evening.

My aunt Suki stayed out all night once when she was sixteen. She went to the county line at Madison. She wanted to see how far she could go.

"That's the danger with young fliers," Mama says. "They don't know when to turn back." Suki was in bed for two days after with a fever and cramps.

It's not an easy thing to do. Flying. Not like you'd think. There are wind currents and air pockets, and birds. Don't ever underestimate birds. It can be difficult to see a swallow coming in at dusk. And even though owls have excellent ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

School Library Journal

Despite its marvelous premise, the book has some flaws. The first-person narrative restricts how much readers know about the characters. Georgia's grandmother is a caricature of a domineering matriarch and it's difficult to understand her daughters' motivations and behavior..... Too many strands of the story are left unanswered, making it tough to sustain a suspension of disbelief. Still, Murphy is a writer to watch and there will surely be teenage girls who will enjoy her first novel. Grades 5-9.

Publisher's Weekly

Like Jane Langton's Georgie Hall in The Fledgling, the narrator of Murphy's enchanting first novel is learning to fly...... Murphy seamlessly links the metaphor of flying with Georgia's rite of passage. An auspicious debut. Ages 12-up.

Kirkus Reviews

The writing is full of apt and innovative images (e.g., Beulah the old Volvo wagon that is like a Southern woman, She just has weight and composure). The beauty and the danger of flight are skillfully imagined. While some readers may reprove the almost misandristic absence of men, for readers who suspend disbelief, the richly developed, seclusive fantasy world of the Hansen women with its own history, rituals, and mores will fascinate, and the conclusion, with the promise of Georgia's safe landing, will satisfy. (Fiction. 10-14)

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